His shirt is orange. A dusty orange that sits against his summer-brown skin like a promise of autumn. The shirt has white stripes.

His hair isn’t as blond as it was last year, not even after two months of sun-soaked play and it makes my heart ache a little bit.

He’s older today. Somehow much older than he was yesterday and his arms go ‘round my neck effortlessly. I don’t have to stoop anymore, and it doesn’t pull me down now, when he does that.

He made me eggs for breakfast, and coffee. His eggs are the best I’ve ever had. Better than his father’s, better than mine even, and that amazes me, that somehow he’s taken what we are and have given him and made it better.

He came in my room wearing a bracelet with dangling charms.

“Help me take this off,” he said.

His little sister wanted to dress him up and he let her. Because he’s like that and it makes me love him so much I can hardly stand it.

At drop off for summer camp he turns his cheek away from my kiss. He tries to pretend he didn’t do it.

“Bye, Mom! Love you!”

The other boys are waiting.

It has come. He’s old enough now, that mom kisses are un-cool and to be avoided in public. Or the other boys snicker, as if they don’t wish they could turn their cheek up for a quick peck and get away with it.

It hurts a little bit, but mostly I’m proud. I was prepared for this. Like his first step, first word, first bike. It’s a man-thing.

My boy’s a man, I suppose.

I should be proud. And I am. But I’m still going to cry a little.